April 23, 2008

Fashion, Shearlings New Flair

Wow, I just found this article online in the NY Times Archives. Yes it is time to think about your next coat, as our shearlings are made one by one. And looking at these 1989 prices, I would say a 2008 Toshiki and Maryszka shearling is a bargain in 2008.............

FASHION; Shearling's New Flair
Published: August 27, 1989
LEAD: A new coat can bring a wardrobe into focus. Though the weather is still warm, many women are already eyeing the new, chic shearlings.

A new coat can bring a wardrobe into focus. Though the weather is still warm, many women are already eyeing the new, chic shearlings.

Designers like Valentino and Karl Lagerfeld have turned the skin and wool of young sheep, once used mainly for rugged jackets, into swing coats, capes that flare and coats that drape as softly as cloth. The coats have lavish detail - quilting, trapunto, cutouts - and are in rich shades of ruby, amethyst, slate blue, olive, forest green, aubergine and black.

A full-length coat is $1,000 to $3,500, depending on the quality of the skins. The best shearling, the most supple and lightest in weight, is entrefino from Spain. The softness of this shearling allows designers to make clothes that have the fluidity of wool or mink.

''For the past 40 years, there have always been shearling coats,'' said Stanley Schulman, president of Alixandre Furs of Manhattan. ''But there hasn't always been the awareness of the different qualities available in shearling, as there are in furs. Entrefino was always used by Hermes, but it was used for a much more limited market and not for the mass market as it is now.'' Lighter but Costlier

An entrefino jacket or coat is $2,000 to $3,500. ''There's at least a $500 difference between a domestic shearling coat and an entrefino coat,'' said Bruce Morrison, a group manager at Bloomingdale's. An entrefino coat can weigh three pounds less than one made of shearling from the United States, France or Turkey.

For many women, a shearling coat has become the everyday fur of choice. It is warm without being ostentatious.

''It is as durable as a good fur coat,'' Mr. Schulman said. If taken care of, a shearling coat should last 10 years, said Michael Robinson, vice president of Revillon, a Paris furrier. When the shearling gets wet, shake it out, hang it up and let it dry naturally. At the end of the winter, have the coat cleaned by experts. ''If you send it to an ordinary dry cleaner, the coat can change color, change finish, and come back stiff,'' Mr. Schulman said. Alixandre, Revillon at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman guarantee their cleaning services. Bloomingdale's will clean a shearling coat, but does not guarantee the color if it has been dyed. Exuberant Styles

There are nearly as many styles in shearling as in cloth. Jacques Jekel's dark-blue motorcycle jacket fastens diagonally and is $1,000 at Bloomingdale's. An oversize bomber jacket that ends around mid-thigh comes in natural shearling; it is $825 at Barneys New York.

Some of the most exuberant styles are in three-quarter or seven-eighths lengths. Designers have more room to be flamboyant, but the coat is not so long as to be cumbersome. For Revillon, Karl Lagerfeld designed a swing coat that is cut in a full circle. It comes in rust, red, purple, black and blue and is $1,950 at Revillon at Saks Fifth Avenue.

A less voluminous swing coat is sold under Bergdorf Goodman's label. In brown, with dark bottle-green turnback cuffs, it sells for $1,995. Mario Valentino's fuschia swing coat has balloon sleeves, and is $2,550 at Bergdorf Goodman. Carmelo Pomodoro's cape, also cut in a full circle, comes in ruby, jade, amethyst and black and is $2,800 at Macy's.

For total warmth, there is a coat by Valentino with beautifully shaped shoulders and a long, pointed collar. Made for Alixandre, it is black, brown or forest green, and is $3,250 at Revillon at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Some designers and shoppers suggest that shearling, which is worn with the wool inside, is less likely to be opposed by animal-protection groups than are glossy pelts.

''Shearling seems more like a luxurious leather than a fur, but the same problems are intrinsic to leathers as they are to furs: you still have to get skin from the animal,'' said Mr. Pomodoro, the designer. ''But since people think of shearling more as a leather than a fur, buying a shearling is more like buying shoes.''

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